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AAP

2013-02-06

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices have rebounded in line with recovering stock markets after a poor start to the week.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March jumped $1.30 to $116.90 a barrel in late London trading.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March advanced 68 cents to $US96.85 ($A93.32) a barrel.

PRECIOUS METALS

Platinum and palladium futures soared to multi-month highs amid fears that both metals will become scarce if the South African platinum industry delivers on calls for widespread mine closures.

"This industry is in a crisis," said Cynthia Carroll, chief executive of Anglo American PLC, the world's largest platinum producer, and second-largest palladium producer.

Platinum and palladium are often found together. Anglo American last month announced plans to cut platinum production 20%.

Carroll said the company planned to create at least as many jobs as the 14,000 positions affected by the restructuring, and that the company was entering a dialogue with the South African government and labour unions to develop a sustainable solution.

South Africa is the world's largest source of both precious metals.

Investors rushed to stock up on the white metals amid fears that supply cuts will lead to scarce availability of both metals.

Palladium futures soared to a 17-Month high, with the March-delivery contract climbing $US7.65, or one per cent to settle at $US765.45 a troy ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Platinum for April delivery settled at a four-month high, climbing $US9.10, or 0.5 per cent, to end at $US1,707.20 a troy ounce on the Nymex.

BASE METALS

Base metals on the London Metal Exchange (LME) have closed in a mixture of positive and negative territory, although ranges were narrow as China, the largest consumer of industrial metals, approached a major public holiday.

At the close of open-outcry trading on Tuesday, copper was 0.4 per cent lower on the previous day's settlement price, at $US8,270 a metric ton.

Most prices had started the session lower on the day after euro-zone concerns had weighed upon prices overnight. Investors on Monday had moved away from riskier assets, as political jitters in Italy and Spain rattled sentiment.